CNN Personalities In Houston to Premiere New Show
October 13, 2010

Is debt really a bigger problem than racism in America?

That’s just one of the more provocative questions examined in CNN’s newest Black in America special, “Almighty Debt.”

CNN selected Houston as one of the cities to premiere the documentary, which examines how families and churches are grappling with the impact of unemployment, foreclosures and debt on the African-American community.

Last night, CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien, CNN analyst (and Houston native) Roland Martin, along with CNN business correspondent Stephanie Elam were in Houston to promote the show and examine possible solutions. Pastor DeForest Soaries, who makes the inflammatory statement about racism and debt in the show, was also here.

 

By the way, O’Brien was hobbling around on crutches. She told me she hurt her knee after falling off her horse. Ouch. Nevertheless, she was in great spirits and friendly to everyone who wanted to shake her hand or snap a photo.

The  Houston Museum of  Natural Science IMAX theater was packed with people who wanted to get a sneak peek at the show and participate in a discussion after the viewing.

Some of those attending included, host Francis Page of  Style Magazine, Goodwille Pierre and city of Houston controller Ronald Green, who also participated in a panel discussion after the crowd watched excerpts from the show.

Almighty Debt – A black in America Special debuts Thursday, October 21 on CNN.

Finally, a special shout-out to students of  HISD’s Jack Yates High School Journalism program. 

Roland Martin is a graduate of the program and many of the students attended the event to interview people and put together stories like real working journalists.

Controller’s Office Proposes Policy Change to Compressed Workweek
May 3, 2010

 Houston, TX – The City Controller’s Office released a proposed change to the Compressed Workweek benefit that could save the City approximately $650,000 per year. This benefit provides exempt employees the opportunity to utilize a compressed work schedule of 80 hours per pay period to be performed in nine days over two weeks, or four ten-hour work days per week.

This option then allows the employee to take the remaining time in a pay period as a “Compressed Day Off” (CDO). Currently, if the scheduled CDO falls on a City paid holiday, the employee gets compensated for both the holiday and the CDO, in essence, paying the employee for 88 hours instead of 80. In calendar year 2009, the City paid these additional funds to approximately 1,100 employees totaling a little over $612,000.

The proposed change would allow the employee to substitute an alternative CDO within the same pay period as the holiday, while being compensated for the scheduled 80 hours, thus eliminating the additional cash payment.

“Our Audit team did a terrific job of quickly identifying a cost-savings measure that can be immediately implemented,” said Controller Ronald Green. “By working with the Administration, I am confident we will continue to close the budget gap for this fiscal year.”

The Audit Division and the Operations and Technical Services Division of the Office of the City Controller, along with members of the City’s Payroll function contributed to the analysis.

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Another Political First For Houston
December 17, 2009

We all know that Saturday’s runoff  ushered in a new era of Houston  politics with the election of  Annise Parker as the city’s first openly gay Mayor.

Almost no attention has been paid  to the fact, except by some in the African-American community,  that Houston also made history in the runoff race for city of  Houston controller.

Ronald Green will be the first African America to hold the title of  Controller in the one hundred six-year history of  the office. 

When he is sworn in on January 1, 2010,  Green will become Houston’s 15th controller, and according to the city’s website,  Houston has elected two Hispanics and three women to serve as controller since the office was created in 1903.

When I asked Green about it  after Wednesday’s city council meeting he told me that while he didn’t make it a campaign issue he does believe that being first is significant.  

Green, who is currently wrapping up a six-year term on council, says he feels it will be even more important for him to do a good job as the city’s Chief  Financial Officer, considering the state of the economy.

Green says he hopes to have a strong working relationship with Mayor-Elect Parker, but also plans to act independently as the taxpayer’s watchdog.

 The Controller’s main job is to produce a comprehensive annual financial report and conduct performance reviews of all city departments and programs.

While It’s not the sexiest or most recognizable  position,  one could argue that Green is about to take the reigns of  one of the most important jobs at city hall.

And at least two controllers, Annise Parker and Kathy Whitmire, eventually became Houston Mayors.

More Controversy In The Race For Controller
October 27, 2009

(The following is a news release sent to 2 On The Beat. I will try to get a statement from the Green campaign)

Pam Holm Challenges Opponent Ron Green
to Answer Voter Questions about His Malfeasance

Houston CPA Concludes Green Ignored His Income Tax Debts for Years

HOUSTON After skipping a public candidate debate, Ron Green has some explaining to do to Houston voters, according to the Pam Holm for City Controller Campaign.

Since Green admitted last Friday to owing the federal government more than $120,000 for unpaid income taxes and admitting that he had to forfeit his company’s name because did not pay his state franchise taxes for his corporation, Green has not made a public appearance to answer voter questions about his pattern of mistakes in dealing with taxes.

Our campaign challenges Green to come clean, said Bethel Nathan, manager for the Pam Holm for City Controller Campaign. As it stands his more than $120,000 debt gives voters more than 120,000 reasons to question his integrity and qualifications. If he wants to serve the public, he needs to answer to the public.

According to an independent analysis of the IRS tax liens filed against Green, his tax problems have been ongoing while he has been serving on the Houston City Council.

The independent analysis from Donald M. Clanton, CPA, shows Green is dodging the IRS, taking income without reporting it and misleading the public on his ethics disclosure statements, Nathan said.

In the analysis, Clanton writes, the IRS decided to take more aggressive collection steps because Green was not making payments on his overdue income taxes and Green was not filing accurate income tax statements. The full Clanton analysis, the IRS tax liens filed against Green and Clanton’s resume are available, http://pamholm.com/DonClanton.pdf.

Green’s behavior is not becoming of a candidate for Houston City Controller, Nathan said. Houston wants and deserves a controller who will honor their responsibilities and who has a record of integrity and ethics. We work for Pam because we know she has integrity, honor and the best intentions for all of Houston. Her record proves it.

Pam Holm Adds A New Co-Chair To Campaign
October 14, 2009

I personally don’t know anything about the working relationship or friendship between City of  Houston controller candidate Pam Holm and Pastor D.Z. Cofield, of Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

However, I was surprised to hear today that Pastor Cofield has joined Holm’s campaign as a co-chair. 

Is it simply designed to draw some African American votes away from Controller Candidate Ronald Green?

 I am publishing the news release that I received.  I will try to dig a little deeper and find out the significance of this annoucement, and report back to you.

Friends,

What a terrific day for our campaign!

Earlier this morning, I announced Dr. D. Z. Cofield will join my campaign for Houston Controller as co-chairman.

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Cofield. Having his support is an honor, and together we are building a coalition of voters who want Houston to have a Controller who is a watchdog over city spending.

As you may know, Dr. Cofield is the Senior Pastor at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church. As a preacher, author and community stakeholder, Dr. Cofield brings our campaign a perspective on coalition building through public service.

Here is a gracious statement Dr. Cofield made earlier today at our announcement at City Hall:

The City Controller must be someone who represents what is in the best interests of all Houstonians, making sure people are treated fairly at every level. Pam Holm’s desire to build a better Houston that is inclusive, and not exclusive, is evidenced by her not simply asking for my endorsement, but in asking me to be part of her campaign leadership team, Cofield said. I am honored and humbled to serve as Co-Chair of Pam Holm’s campaign to continue her public service to the city of Houston. In accepting this invitation I will do all I can to help her make Houston even better.

Dr. Cofield will be teaming with our three campaign co-chairs Susan Kellner, Fred Zeidman and Lee Hogan. This leadership team gives me great pride because our campaign has a strong team of leaders who reflect the best of Houston.

Please share this wonderful news with your friends by visiting our campaign Web site, http://pamholm.com or our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pam-Holm/90340899889?ref=mf

Thank you

Pam

M.J. Khan Launches TV Ad In Race For City Controller
October 12, 2009

On Monday, the M.J. Khan for City Controller Campaign launched its first television ad, and if you believe the message, there are a lot of  voters across Houston who really want  Khan to be the next controller.

The title of the ad is, “I Want M.J. Khan.”

According to a news release sent to 2 On The Beat, the ad is designed to “highlight how council member Khan will bring fiscal responsibility to the controller’s office and how he has established a strong record of fiscal management while on city council.”

It also has a lot of people featured in the ad saying, “I want M.J. Khan.”

“I believe that this ad will aid to inform voters about my record of fiscal management, as well as my experience and qualifications to lead Houston through these touch economic times,” said Khan in the release.

Late Monday I spoke with Andre Castro, Khan’s campaign manager. He told me that the campaign bought time on  all local network stations and some cable stations. Khan should have a heavy television presence leading up to early voting and election day.

Last week controller candidate Pam Holm announced that she was releasing a TV ad.

When I saw her last Thursday she indicated that her campaign had not purchased any time on local television stations, but that the ad was available on her campaign website, youtube and facebook.  I’m not sure if anything has changed since our last conversation.

Meanwhile, the third candidate in the controller’s race is  city council member Ronald Green.  His campaign spokesman told me that Green has no immediate plans to go up on television between now and election day.

Green was just endorsed by the Houston Chronicle, and has a history of running and winning elections citywide.

Will the lack of  paid television commercials hurt Green . as his two major opponents rely on the airwaves to help spread their messages?

The controller’s race has been very low key, but as we move closer to early voting more people are beginning to pay attention and choose a candidate.

City Controller’s Race Heating Up
October 8, 2009

The city of Houston Controller is the chief financial officer. Some also describe that role as  “the taxpayer’s watchdog.”

It’s a race that hasn’t generated a lot of excitement, but it is an important position that has three experienced leaders vying for your vote on election day.

All of the candidates currently serve on Houston city council, and their campaigns are starting to heat up.

On Tuesday, candidate Pam Holm released her first TV political commercial . On Wednesday night,  candidate Ronald Green attended a fundraiser to help his campaign reach more voters.

city 002city 015

Green was the star attraction at the fundraising event dubbed 100 Women for Green.  The successful and fashionable women in attendance vowed to open their checkbooks and roll up their sleeves to help Green get elected controller. 

Controller candidates Green, Holm and M.J. Khan recently faced off  in a political forum hosted by KPRC Local 2 and The League of  Women Voters.  Investigative Reporter Amy Davis served as  moderator of the discussion.  You can watch the debate on line @ http://www.click2houston.com/video/21201251/index.html

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Meanwhile, Green’s campaign manager told me that they will not invest in any TV political commercials leading up to election day.   Keir Murray says that Green has high name identification with voters after running three successful races for the city council at-large seat he currently holds.  Murray says Green will focus on face to face voter contact, through  door to door campaigning and direct mail.

You can expect to see a TV political commercial from M.J. Khan.  Khan’s campaign manager told me that the controller candidate will launch a TV commercial in the next few days.  Andre Castro says that Khan has already taped the commercial , and it is currently being edited in post production.

Pam Holm Releases First TV Ad In Race For Controller
October 6, 2009

City of  Houston Controller candidate Pam Holm today released her first TV commercial.

I don’t  know how much of an ad buy her team has made, but the message is very strong and the spot is nicely produced.

Currently the AD is posted on her campaign website, you tube and facebook.

According to a news release sent to 2 On The Beat, Holm is trying to paint herself as the “candidate who has the best proven experience to be the kind of watchdog the city of  Houston needs in its next Controller.”

Holm is running for the position against her fellow city council members, Ronald Green and M.J. Khan.

The latest campaign contribution report shows that Holm has raised an impressive amount of  money, but as a district council member , she has never been elected citywide. 

That could be a tough hill for her to climb on election day.

Green has won three citywide elections and possibly has better name ID with the voters.

Khan is also a district council member, but he has more personal money to spend in the race.

I will check with Green and Khan to find out if they also plan to release TV political commercials before the start of early voting on Monday, October 19th.

FBI Asked To Investigate Email
September 14, 2009

I  wrote this weekend about  the mysterious and mean- spirited email that was circulating in the community, targeting candidates in the race for Controller of  the City of Houston.

I wanted to share an email that was sent to me today.

HoustonWorks USA CEO Target of Slanderous Email Campaign
Larry V. Green Working With FBI to Solve Mystery

 

HOUSTON (September 14, 2009)– On Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 9:34 P.M., a bogus email from “Larry Green” at “sunnysideprecinctjudges@gmail.com” containing racial and religious slurs targeting candidates running for City of Houston Controller. Larry V. Green, Esq., CEO of HoustonWorks USA unequivocally denies any association with this activity and is working with the Houston Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Cr hteime Center (NW3C) to bring those responsible to justice.

 

“As soon as I heard about this email I was in contact with authorities,” said Larry V. Green, Esq., CEO of HoustonWorks USA. “I am the CEO of a nonprofit organization whose sole basic role is to make life better for people who are ‘down-on-their-luck.’ The hallmark of HoustonWorks USA for the past 25 years is the diversity of our employees—I encourage everyone to view our Web site—highlighting our diversity and our culture is well documented. I am looking forward to finding out who is responsible for this slanderous attack on me and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law.”

 

Larry V. Green has reached out to Pam Holm, MJ Khan and Ronald Green (no relation), the three candidates running for Houston Controller to express his outrage regarding the email being sent erroneously under his name from an organization, “Sunnyside Precinct Judges” that doesn’t exist. Larry V. Green is not endorsing any candidate running for office.

 

HoustonWorks USA own IT department launched an internal investigation and was able to determine that the email in question came from an anonymous Gmail account. HoustonWorks USA is working closely with Google the operators of Gmail in hopes of finding the original IP address where the email was sent.

 

About HoustonWorks USA:

Founded in 1984, HoustonWorks USA is the leading provider of services focusing on job placement, continuing education and vocational training. Serving more than 900,000 annually, HoustonWorks USA provides job seekers with a variety of workshops including job search techniques, interviewing skills and resume writing, or use of the resource library with Internet access and postings of local, state and national job openings. Training is also available in career fields such as healthcare, business, computers and education. HoustonWorks USA manages several of the largest Workforce Solutions offices in Houston and the surrounding region for the Houston Galveston Area Council. These offices offer a wide range of services for job seekers as well as employers looking for trained workers. HoustonWorks also provides numerous youth programs including internships, scholarships, summits and summer camps. HoustonWorks is a 501(c) 3, tax-exempt organization. Visit www.houstonworks.org for additional information.

Ronald Green Responds To Mysterious and Mean-Spirited Email
September 13, 2009

No one has  been able to determine who is responsible for circulating the repulsive email in the race for  City of  Houston Controller.

(read previous post: https://2onthebeat.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/ugly-politics-in-the-race-for-city-of-houston-controller/)

Controller Candidate/Council member Ronald Green has issued a statement denouncing the letter,  and the ugly attacks against his two opponents and fellow city council members Pam Holm and M.J. Khan.

Here is Green’s Statement that w as sent to 2 ON THE BEAT:

Yesterday someone using an asssumed name and purporting to support  my candidacy for City Controller, sent an email disparaging my opponents in the a particularly bigoted and mean-spirited way, and falsely claimed its contents were endorsed by a number of elected officials and community leaders.

This email is a fraud and an affront to all who received it and were referenced in it.  I UNEQUIVOCALLY REJECT IT!!! My work, as an At-Large Council Member for the last 6 years, and my campaign for City Controller are about bringing Houstonians of all backgrounds together to move our great city forward. The hateful messages in this email have no place in our political discourse.

Ronald

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I also received an email from Larry Green, who is listed as the author of the email.  As I reported earlier,  he denies having any knowledge of who sent it.

Fellow Houstonians,

It has recently come to my attention that a slanderous email issued the name of   Larry Green was distributed to the Southeast precinct judges, and god knows whoever, stating vile and racist comments about members in the race for Houston City Controller.  You should know that I,  Larry V. Green, did not write this email and would never write such ridiculous propaganda.  I am not endorsing anyone  in the  Controllers race or any race for that matter and my position as a leader of a major non-profit precludes me from doing so.  Someone is playing politics and I do not appreciate being thrown in the middle.  If anyone knows the origin of this tainted piece of scum email, please contact  me immediately.  I am turning this matter over to the local authorities for a full investigation and prosecution.  This email is repulsive and I DID NOT write it and whatever politico did and I find out will be sued.

Larry V. Green,  Esq.